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Taking Root: Graduating Seniors Plant Trees and Build Memories

May 22, 2009
University Relations
Taking Root: Graduating Seniors Plant Trees and Build Memories

The Senior Class Tree Planting, a tradition begun in 1917 and recently reinvigorated, brings graduates together to celebrate their time at UMass Amherst. During the past decade, outgoing seniors have left their mark on campus each year on Arbor Day.

Around campus, trees donated by each crop of newly minted alumni bear stone markers commemorating the graduating class that planted the tree. While an environmentally responsible action, the Senior Class Tree Planting also brings attention to the Senior Campaign, a fundraising effort to purchase a senior class gift. This year, the Class of 2009 chose to raise money for a juice bar and lounge in the new campus recreation center.  So far, the class has pledged more than $37,000 for the center, to open fall 2009.

The Class of 2009 planted five false cypress trees in Durfee Conservatory. Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning Professor Jack Ahern selected the tree and the location, ensuring the campus has a variety of trees in an environment where they will thrive, much like the students have in their four years on campus.

“The planting of a young tree is symbolic of our time here,” says Meira Wainstein ‘09, co-chair of the Senior Campaign. “Since arriving here on campus four years ago, members of the class, like a tree, have grown stronger and put down roots here, roots that will forever connect us to UMass Amherst.”